At Initiation and Novice levels, being a goalies mom is interesting and rewarding. The kids have fun and learn about the positions on ice. They’re little so there isn’t a lot of risk.
Once they hit the Atom level, things change.
They work with goalie coaches (if the coaches are available) who teach them positional play and how to get up and down as quickly as possible. Things take on a more serious tone.
The wins and losses are resting on the shoulders of the goalies. My son takes everything personally. He celebrates his wins, but he suffers through his losses and blames it all on himself. That’s when it’s really tough to be a goalies mom.
The kids are bigger and shoot the puck harder. I have been witness to my son taking two hard shots off his melon so far this season. The first one didn’t bother him too much, but the second one rattled him a little. He said it hurt a bit, but he persevered. Luckily, he didn’t get a concussion…this time.
He hasn’t taken a puck to an unprotected part of his body yet, but that will happen in due time. And, as a goalies mom, I’m hoping it won’t be too serious and maybe he’ll even give up playing in net.
Before the games, I sit in front of the rink, focusing as though I would be the one defending the goal. My nerves make me breathe faster and harder because I’m worried whether or not this will be the day my kid gets seriously hurt. I wonder if he’ll get seriously injured by a shot on net or by an opposing player crashing the net. I pace the rink, trying not to focus on all the bad that could happen. Instead I chat with the other parents and try to focus on the positive things.
My anxiety gets the best of me somedays, but I try not to show it around my son. Because he loves playing in net. He loves being a goalie. And he never has as much fun or as big of a smile at the end of the game than when he takes his mask off after the final buzzer sounds after he’s had a good game in net. He has the passion to be a goalie. And I will never tell him he can’t do it. I will never crush his dream of playing in net for his team.
Being a goalies mom is hard.